On a Roll at Wendy's Window

Dan Mirvish at a Wendy's drive through
Writer Dan Mirvish at a Wendy's drive-through: Fast food for all, hold the safety! (Courtesy Of Dan Mirvish - Courtesy Of Dan Mirvish)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, January 27, 2006

As a onetime speechwriter for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Dan Mirvish says he has a keen sense of disability rights, his former boss's signature issue. As a veteran indie filmmaker, he, well, certainly has a sense for drama.

The two came together this week in Park City, Utah, where Mirvish is hosting his annual Slamdance Film Festival, which for years has piggybacked onto the more famous Sundance fest. Before ducking into a late-night party Tuesday, he decided to stop by a neighboring Wendy's for a single hamburger, no cheese.

One hitch: Mirvish has been in a wheelchair since breaking his leg. He didn't want to bother getting in his car and driving across the "icy" parking lot, he said, so he wheeled over -- and found the dining room closed but the drive-through window open.

He wheeled his chair up to the window -- but was denied service. The cashier told him they "are not allowed to serve walk-up," he said. (Wasn't this a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode?)

"I didn't walk up; I rolled up," he said.

Stunned, Mirvish went to the party and returned with several filmmaker friends -- and their cameras. This time, he said, the restaurant management "slammed the window literally in our face." As they headed out of the parking lot, four state police officers drove up, lights flashing ("You in the wheelchair -- pull over!" he claims they said), and ordered them to leave.

The incident got Mirvish's activist juices flowing: He's now considering a complaint or suit against the burger chain for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. "You're supposed to provide reasonable accommodations," he said. If the dining room was off-limits, "they should have let me in through the drive-through."

But Wendy's spokesman Bob Bertini said the ADA has nothing to do with a motor-vehicles-only policy. "We do it for safety reasons," he said. "And there are security considerations, particularly late at night, for employees and customers, as well."

So, should we look for a "Super Size Me"-style exposé on drive-through windows? "The script I'm writing has a character in a wheelchair," Mirvish said. "I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in a scene."

Gospel According to Brownback

Deep in Rolling Stone's 7,000-word profile of Republican Sen. Sam Brownback , the conservative Kansan picked a startling bit of Scripture to explain his opposition to homosexuality.

"You look at the social impact of the countries that have engaged in homosexual marriage," he said, citing the example of Sweden to writer Jeff Sharlet before adding: "You'll know 'em by their fruits." An awkward silence followed, in Sharlet's telling.

It's a reference to Matthew 7:16 -- often interpreted to mean that one can judge a prophet's sincerity by his deeds -- but, Sharlet noted, it kinda sounded like the senator was calling gay Swedes "fruits."

A spokesman in Brownback's office said someone would return our calls to discuss this, but no one did yesterday.

Don't Boldly Go There!

"Hello, my Vulcan brother."

That, a Prince George's County jury heard yesterday, was the smart-aleck comment that prompted a manager for rap star The Game to allegedly slug a DJ at the WKYS studios last year.

Game himself (aka Jayceon Taylor) was not present as the trial of James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond got underway, our colleague Ruben Castaneda reports. Instead, jurors heard from alleged victim Richard "DJ Zxulu" Dunkerson , who encountered The Game and his posse after an on-air interview. Seems he thought Rosemond's fancy cell phone earpiece had a certain Trekkie look to it; after he made the comment, he testified, Rosemond hit him in the face.

Defense attorney William C. Brennan told the jury that Zxulu's claims are an effort to shake down The Game and others for money, noting that the DJ -- who has since left WKYS -- has filed a $250 million suit. Testimony resumes Monday.

THIS JUST IN . . .

· Just in case you were wondering whether Robert Nova k 's departure from CNN for Fox was, you know, bitter, the cable network threw a big farewell for him last night at Charlie Palmer steakhouse here, with the likes of Pat Buchanan , Donna Brazile , Kate O'Beirne and CNN Worldwide's president, Jim Walton, attending .

· Meg Ryan has adopted a baby girl from China, her publicist told reporters yesterday. She was divorced in 2001 from Dennis Quaid -- with whom she has a 13-year-old son -- and is single these days. No word on a name.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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